Monday, December 30, 2013

Loving On

- Coffee from Baltimore Coffee & Company. Maggie and I both got some for Christmas from Allen, and we're totally head-over-heels in love. So far we've tried "Frosty's Favorite," "North Pole," and "Santa's Elf," and we still have a package of "Starry Night" to break into. So, so good. Mm.


- This picture of the twins. Seriously, where did time go?!? Liz is still working and taking courses to get her massage therapy certification at the College of Southern Maryland (following in my footsteps with a VERY high GPA, lol) and Allen is also taking classes and was just hired at the local Japanese place, training to be assistant to the chef. :) I love em both so much and it's sort of killing me slowly to watch them be so grown up.

- Doctor Who. I know, I know, I know. But seriously.

- My new Vanilla Cedarwood candle from my friend Crisy. A-MA-zing!

- Being "on vacation" and staying over at my family's house for the past... um... week. *coughIswearI'mgoinghomesometimecough*

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Lull (And A Randomizer)

It's been a crazy, crazy month. Especially this past week or so, where I had different jobs for different clients every day, sometimes multiple jobs a day, and all those last minute Christmas preparations, and - I'll admit it - my heart was desperate for some meaningful time with loved ones and family, so a lot of times when I should have been off accomplishing stuff, I was, instead, playing Hearts, watching movies, or otherwise hanging out with people.

A couple of times I kind of teetered close to the edge of "not okay" (this is historically the time of year when I struggle the most, even while on anti-depressants)... but by God's grace, I never actually slipped into depression, even though I kind of expected to.

But now the busy season is over! And there's the fun of New Year's to look forward to - which is going to be incredibly laid back this year, and involves a hotel reservation with a pool, giant Jacuzzi, a Starbucks next door, and a day off. Score! Plus, I have two full days with Abigail - can't wait for some Abby time! - and that always feels like a vacation. :)

Anyway...

- I've been staying at the big house ever since Christmas Eve, sleeping on Maggie's spare bed. It's sort of like being on vacation - huge bathroom, warm house, endless hot water, people all around - and I've definitely enjoyed the family time.

- I've also been working on cleaning/organizing my trailer, which kind of turned into a free for all during the holidays. It's awful. I'm going to be a better housekeeper in the coming year, I swear!

- I'm addicted to sushi, specifically the sushi at Asahi. It's ridiculous how much I've eaten there in the last month of so. I'm probably going to turn into a fish (for the record, my favorites so far are the "Under The Sea" roll - shrimp tempura roll topped with spicy tuna - and the "Hawaiian Islands" roll - California roll wrapped in salmon, then grilled).

- I got to watch the Doctor Who episode "Blink" this week. A.K.A., the weeping angels episode. My mind was totally blown, and I immediately downloaded it onto my tablet so I could show it to my sibs, who seemed a little more impressed than they were when I tried to describe Doctor Who to them. Then I discovered that I can stream episodes on my new smartphone fantastically, so I see a lot of watching in my future. :)

- I got a new phone - a smartphone!!! I'm totally in love. Lovelovelove. And my mom got one for Christmas, and I made the "mistake" of installing Words With Friends on it for her. ;) Don't worry - I'm winning! :)

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

From me, Zhiva, and Zinnia!
"Where is He that is born King? ... for we have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him."
- Matthew 2:2

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Note To Myself

Remember -

~ Christmas Eve is not for shopping. You HATE shopping on Christmas Eve. There is NO such thing as "just ducking in" for ANYTHING, so do whatever you have to do - stay up all night, go out late, take a nap so you can plow through - but get it all done BEFORE Christmas Eve. (But if you absotively posilutely MUST go out... go to Prince Frederick. It's much, much less crazy than St. Mary's.)

~ There is no eggnog to be had for 100 square miles on Christmas Eve. Grab a half-gallon the day before.

~ Wrap the gifts already. You keep thinking there will be this magical moment when the house is clean, there are no more chores to do, Christmas music is wafting through the air, and you'll suddenly be struck with the urge to wrap presents. It's not gonna happen. Put it on the to-do list and get it done.

~ Don't sing at the Christmas Eve service. You'll actually enjoy the service!

~ And most importantly... If all your loved ones magically make it to town for Christmas Eve, and you're invited to go to dinner with everyone, go. By the end of the night, your heart will be happy no matter how frazzled you were at the beginning.

:)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Love of Lately

It snowed last night - a beautiful, serene, peaceful kind of snow. I fell asleep watching it and it never occurred to me to worry about driving to work in it, which was good, because by the time I drove to work the roads were totally clear. Best of both worlds. :)
 
My front-porch d├ęcor. I found the plant stand on sale this fall for $6 after lusting after it for weeks; during the fall, it had a pumpkin on the shelf, a hanging basket of mums, and a burlap bow. Now it holds my lantern ($2 at the thrift store!), the beautiful boy Natalie made me last year, and a sprig of holly. :)
My Khy, opening his first "advent" gift. One of our traditions is that I send "twelve days of Christmas" gifts (this year I got to hand-deliver them!) - little things (crayons and coloring book, candy, modeling clay, a matchbox car, etc) leading up to the "big" gift on Christmas Day. :) My BFF is good about sending pictures capturing his smiles, and it totally makes my day.
I had the chance last week to hang out with one of my favorite "littles," C! On a whim I whipped up a batch of salt-clay dough and raided his mama's cookie cutter collection, and we made ornaments. :)
Earlier this week C's sister L had her class Christmas concert at a local nursing home, so I stopped in to watch and say hi! The class did SO WELL... and I want reindeer antlers, too!!!

Christmas Photo Shoot

Last week Abigail got a day off of school in anticipation of snow, sleet, and dangerous wintry conditions, which never truly materialized, so we packed a bag full of holiday clothes and headed over to my house to play with cousins and take her Christmas pictures. :)
 


















She's growing up and changing so fast... :'( / :)

Friday, December 13, 2013

Speeding Up, Slowing Down...

Lately, it feels like Thanksgiving was yesterday and Christmas is tomorrow. I knew this season was going to be busy, but lately I've just been feeling overwhelmed trying to balance the urgent with the important. Reconciling the fact that my sink is filled with dirty dishes with the fact that the kids want me to come play Hearts with them. Choosing between falling into bed comatose right now so I can wake up tomorrow somewhat rested, and getting that one more thing accomplished so that tomorrow isn't as crazy as today was. Trying to figure out where I can multi-task, and desperately craving some time to do nothing at all. So far I'm always halfway between success and failure on all fronts; the gifts are all wrapped (except three that I haven't even gotten yet), the Thank-You cards for the cast are all written (except for two that are labeled but still blank inside), decorations are put out (but the clutter on the kitchen table and the couch still hasn't been cleared off).

I'm trying hard to cut myself some slack, feed my soul, be strong and fearless and giving. Mostly I think it's working.

Anyway...

Our first cantata performance was last Sunday morning, and it was amazing. I was so proud of my cast and crew and how well everyone did, and I'm looking forward to this week's performance Sunday night. I've really enjoyed working with these folks, and I was officially asked last week if I'd be willing to do it again next year, so it looks like I'll get to do it again. :)

The last swim class of this year was on Wednesday, and now I have three weeks off! Three weeks in which to figure out what to do with the preschool program (I'm debating a couple of different ideas), study up on teaching higher levels (cuz it looks like I might get to expand my classes come the new year!) and enjoy having my evenings free. :) We promoted five kids on the last night of class - five kids!!! - and it was so much fun watching their faces when they realized all their hard work had paid off!
Not gonna lie - some kids I am so very glad promoted away from me, lol - but most of them I will totally miss, and was sad to see go. Especially my "O" (maybe six or seven?) who has struggled ever since the first class. He's so well behaved, and works so hard, and Maggie and I once said to each other sadly, "He's such a good student, but an awful swimmer!" I felt bad for him when his little sister promoted out of the class ahead of him, and he was clearly disappointed, but nowhere near ready to promote. Well... lately he'd been doing so much better, and on Wednesday he hopped in and did his ten bobs perfectly without stopping or pausing! And then he glided for five seconds, front and back, absolutely perfectly, so he ended up promoting two levels in one night. Seeing the difference in his skills now - how confidently he puts his face in the water, how strong his body is when he glides, how he lifts his head for a breath without flailing or stopping - just made my day. And he was giddy with happiness over being promoted, and gave me a huge hug. :)

I'm booking lots of jobs with various clients over the next two weeks. Part of me is amazingly grateful - I'm envisioning starting the new year with a renewed emergency fund and little more wiggle room in my budget - but the other part is kind of dreading the busyness of it all.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Five For Monday

1) I'm sorry if yesterday's post was a downer. It really wasn't meant to be, but this is why you shouldn't blog when your brain has gone into emergency shut-down, lol. My brain was still rebooting this morning, but after a salad for breakfast (whaaaat? Yeah, believe it or not, that's what I woke up craving!), a stiff cup of coffee, and a cup of tea, the fog is beginning to lift. It's a good thing, too - I need to be on my A-game today, because - wait for it -

2) I GO BACK TO TEACHING TODAY! :) I missed my kids and I'm really, really looking forward to go back. :) Today is going to be crazy, though, because Maggie and I have four preschoolers and two level 1's and the other teacher is absent. We'll have our hands full. But then Abigail is in our second class, and I have two semi-private lessons to teach, so it'll all turn out all right in the end.

3) I have a new client that I'm meeting with today, and she has a teensy-weensy baby girl that I'm super excited about getting to snuggle. And, not gonna lie, I'm also excited about picking up a little extra money this week. But, mostly about snuggling. :)

4) So yesterday was the first day of Advent. I've always wondered about Advent, when it started and what you were supposed to do and all that, but it only occurred to me today to Wikipedia it and actually find out. And it turns out that unless you're following strict liturgical laws (and, you know... I'm Baptist), the celebration of Advent is largely open for interpretation. Since I'm all about free and cheap this year (lol!) I signed up for a free daily Advent devotional that I can read on my phone. That sounded a lot cooler in my head. ;)

5) A friend sent me the link to this. It's pretty adorable. And don't even get me started on these - how did I not know about this?!?

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Overwhelmed

I am so fried tonight. My brain feels like it's shut down from a combination of sensory overload, multitasking, and general overwhelmed-ness. (That's not even a word, by the way. I think there's a real word that basically means the same thing, but I'm too tired to think of it.) Today was the first full dress rehearsal for the Christmas drama, and that meant that the cast, crew, choir, children's choir (yes, there's a children choir. I didn't know this until last week either.), and tech people (sound and lights) all came together like cogs in a machine. A machine that lurched and died and flooded and zoomed and eventually got to where it was going... but not without causing the drivers some heart attacks along the way.

Did I mention that today was an epic all-day event, starting just after church ended and ending as the evening service began?

I have faith (and know from experience) that on Friday, our final dress rehearsal, a lot of our issues will magically disappear, and those that don't will somehow iron themselves out before our first performance (on Sunday). And I'm not freaking out. But I sure would like a nap.

This week looks to be crazy-busy - Maggie and I go back to teaching swim in the evenings, I have a new client interview tomorrow afternoon and a job with said client on Thursday evening, and on Friday, of course, is our final dress rehearsal. Plus, I'm hoping to work in my tutoring job somewhere in there.

And, of course, I'd kind of like to find some time in between all this busyness to hang Christmas lights. Sweep the floor. Make decorations. Snuggle with my girls. Have a holiday movie night with the kids. I guess I feel like the time is slipping through my fingers and I'm too tired to take advantage of the moments. :(